On Monday, jury selection got underway in the trial of former Minneapolis police officer Derek Chauvin for the death of George Floyd, an incident which sparked mass protests and violence all over the nation last summer.

But as the trial gets underway, more information about what happened that day comes to light, and more Americans of all backgrounds take a rational and critical look at groups like BLM and law enforcement in general, some interesting poll numbers have been revealed.

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Poll Numbers Tell The Story

A new USAToday/Ipsos poll shows Americans’ trust and faith in the Black Lives Matter movement has fallen, while faith and trust has risen for law enforcement since the violence and unrest of last summer.

As might be expected, the gap in views runs sharply along racial lines.

The poll show that in June of 2020, 60% of those polled thought that George Floyd’s death was a murder. That number has dropped to 36%, as there appears to be more uncertainty about how to characterize Floyd’s death.

The disparity is apparent in that 64% of African-Americans believe Floyd was murdered, compared to 28% of white people, who tended to describe Chauvin’s actions as “negligent.”

Last summer, amidst the the violence and rioting in many large American cities, the poll showed that 60% of Americans trusted that Black Lives Matter would promote justice and equality for all people. The feeling that law enforcement would promote justice and equality for all was at 56%.

There has been a shift in those numbers, with trust in BLM at around 50% and trust in local law enforcement at 69%.

Again, as might be expected, there is a disparity in those numbers. Trust in BLM among blacks is at 75%, and 42% among whites. Trust in law enforcement is at just 42% for blacks and 77% for whites.

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Rioting And Looting Not Rallying People To The Cause

A Civiqs poll shows approval for BLM hit its high point by June 3 of 2020, and has steadily fallen.

While Democrats and Republicans were divided on the issue of Black Lives Matter, the numbers among Independents were fairly dramatic.

Support for BLM among Independents went from 24% in early June to a mere 3% by late August.

While there was no indication that BLM was being mentioned in the same breath as rioting, poll numbers might have indicated that BLM and rioting were being conflated in the mind of the general public.

One of the signature issues for the Black Lives Movement in the wake of the death of George Floyd was a movement to defund police departments. In Minneapolis, there was a move to disband the police department. 

A USA Today report cites that, while some cities have in fact defunded police departments by re-allocating funds meant for law enforcement to social and other programs, active discussions of defunding police are hard to find.

This may be because of the spike in murder rates in several cities that were hardest hit by rioting last summer.

A recent report from U.S. News and World Report said that in 2020, most likely due to conditions related to the COVID pandemic, but also citing wide spread “protests against police violence,” 29 of 34 American cities saw murder rates rise an average of 30%. 

America’s three largest cities, New York, Los Angeles, and Chicago, accounted for 40% of additional murder victims.

A report from The Guardian says that during the violence and unrest of the summer of 2020, 11 people were killed while participating in political demonstrations, and another 14 died from incidents related to political unrest.

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As The Trial Begins

Jury selection in the Derek Chauvin trial is scheduled to take roughly three weeks. Opening statements are scheduled to begin on March 29.

It may prove to be challenging, not just for the usual reasons, but because of the high profile nature of the trial many have expressed concern for their safety and the safety of their families should they be selected for the jury. 

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And as this trial, which will strike raw nerves for many begins, one of the most important statistics from the poll will, more than likely, not come up in court.

Of those polled in the USAToday/Ipsos poll, the percentage of those who say race relations have worsened is four times the number who say they have improved, 40% vs. 13%.

That gap is even wider among African-Americans, with 54% say race relations are worse and just 10% say better.  


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